We woke up on Sunday with the realization that we didn't have plans. No errands that needed to be run. No birthday parties that needed to be attended. No work related travel plans. No yard work. No house chores. Nothing.
That is a rare occurrence in this house. Very rare.
So, inspired by the gorgeous Fall weather we were having this weekend, we decided to hop in the car and do something fun outside to celebrate our free day. After a quick family debate, we decided to do some apple picking.
We had heard about a few local orchards, but ultimately decided on heading to Mercier Orchards in Blueridge, GA. We had been there a few years ago with some of our good friends and remembered loving it.
With a relatively quick drive north, we arrived at the orchard just after it opened and were delighted to see that it was just as beautiful as we remembered.
The moment we stepped out of the car you were hit with cool crisp Fall air, and the most delicious apple smell ever. Seriously, I almost forewent the apple picking right then and there in search of whatever apple baked goods I was smelling.
Sometimes I can exude willpower.
It's rare. Even more rare than a free day.
Once I was able to shake myself from the tempting aromas of baked apple goods, we headed out for our original mission...apple picking!
First headed to a pavilion to pay for our apple bag and catch a tractor ride out to the right part of the orchards. We learned that Mercier's is the largest orchard in Georgia with over 350 acres, and over 50 varieties of apples available.
The tractor ride not only allowed you to enjoy some spectacular views of the orchard, but you were able to learn a little bit about the history of the orchard, what other fruits and vegetables the orchard has to offer, and how to pick the perfect apple. It was very informative, and we are already making plans to visit another one of their harvest seasons.
Cute had listened intently though out the whole ride, and definitely picked up quick on how to pick the perfect apple. He wasted no time in filling up his bag.
One fun thing about the orchard is that you are able to test and eat the apples right off the trees. Once Hubby showed this to the Cutes, they were so in awe. I think the taste testing was probably their favorite part.
I think group consensus was that the Cameo apple was our favorite with Granny Apple right behind it. We filled our bag (and our bellies) up before even reaching the third row of apples though, so I am sure out of the 50 plus varieties available opinions will vary.
It was so well organized, and we loved just walking around and enjoying everything.
After doing a bit of hiking around the orchard, we hopped back on a tractor at one of the check in points to take us back to the restaurant/store area.
Trust me. Even amongst all that fresh mountain air, long hike, and apple tasting I had not forgotten about the baked apple goods awaiting me by the parking lot.
After we exited the tractor, we decided to grab a quick light lunch at the restaurant before checking out the bakery and store. The restaurant we had been to before with our friends for breakfast and it was delicious. For lunch they serve yummy sandwiches, burgers, and paninis. My sandwich was so yummy that I forgot to take a pic.
The store and bakery were so fun as well. There was definitely a lot to see and you could find anything and everything made from apples.
The bakery did not disappoint. There was yumminess everywhere.
By far their most popular product was their fried pies. The line for these was super long and they flew off the shelves in cases. Yum!
If you can divert your eyes and taste buds away from all the delicious apple products you are surrounded some fun farm history and activities. While a large operation, they do a great job of it feeling not too commercial, which we loved. They had a small petting zoo and pony ride to support charity, but Cute was fascinated with the antique tractor you could play with inside the store. He would have played on it all day if we let him, but our cart was full and our pants weren't stretchy enough to stay much longer.
We had a wonderful time, and it was the perfect way to spend a Fall day. We can't wait to visit Mercier's again soon!